After a nearly 3-year wait the Netflix heavy-hitter Stranger Things returns for its penultimate season on May 27th. Fans have watched the lovable Dungeons and Dragons playing, monster-fighting nerds grow up in front of their eyes since the show premiered in 2016.
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Along the way, the show has introduced fun new characters while also losing some fan favorites to the treacherous dangers of the Upside Down. As fans wait for the season 4 premiere, members of the Stranger Things subreddit have taken to a poll to decide their favorite Hawkins citizens.
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Who can forget the iconic opening of season 1, when Will vanished into thin air in the woods of Hawkins. Will has run the gamut between being trapped in the Upside Down, possessed by the Mind Flayer, and struggling to fit into the real world as a teen after all this paranormal trauma.
Some Reddit users consider Will their favorite character but the inconsistency leaves them wanting more. According to user HappySlothFan, “He was vital to the series, a really important character, and such incredible acting, but he was missing for the entire first season, in the third season the writers didn’t give him anything good to work with, and in the second season he was great.” Despite this fans hope to see more of Will in season 4. His resilience throughout the series hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Mike is considered by many to be the leader of the core four best friends. He’s shown acts of great bravery to help his friends, but also caused some ire in season 3 when he became the boyfriend of Eleven and the bane of Hopper’s existence.
Fans have mixed feelings about Mike in the most recent seasons. User maybeitsmaplebeans remains hopeful about the future of his character arc, “Most likely he’ll be leading the charge on the inevitable Eleven rescue mission next season, so let’s hope we get more of that Mike. Helping his friends tends to bring out the best in him.” CaroSJ agrees, “Mike is still the same compassionate, caring, loyal person he was in season one. He just has flaws like everyone else.”
Lucas is the highly quotable, sling-shot yielding, wise-cracking, best friend of Mike, Dustin, and Will. He’s never backed down from a fight and has been a fierce friend to the other three boys. Even when the love triangle with Max and Dustin materialized in season 2, his loyalty to both didn’t waver.
HappySlothFan agrees that his loyalty is impressive, even if his drink choice is dubious. They claim Lucas is “always a really loyal friend and good guy, even though he likes new coke!” Fans also admire his weaponry, always coming prepared to defend his friends from Demogorgans and evil scientists. User sedugas78 reminds fans of his character growth, remarking Lucas “has a warrior spirit and is well-armed, as well as being capable of reflecting when he’s been wrong.”
Following the tragic death of her friend Barb, Nancy didn’t start off on the greatest foot in season 1. Many fans blamed her for Barb getting trapped in the Upside Down. But Nancy’s tenacious efforts to shut down Hawkins Lab in season 2 redeemed the character. She also stubbornly investigated the diseased rats despite ridicule from her colleagues; leading her to discover a link between the rats and the Mind Flayer.
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Her journalistic investigations and brave efforts to save her friends changed the minds of some naysayers. User Upside_down246 appreciates her character arc saying “she’s developed the last three seasons.” Her resilience doesn’t go unnoticed, they also “love how she doesn’t give up on something when she puts her mind to it.”
Everyones favorite Scoops Ahoy ice cream slinger, Robin, joined the crew in season 3 but has already accrued a fanbase. Her quick quips at co-worker Steve and mastery of the Russian language proved her a formidable (and fun!) new asset to the team.
Fans quickly pointed out her contributions in just one season, user danaaaban_ explains she “cracked a Russian code, was a good friend to Erica and Dustin, had an influence on King Steve’s development and got him a job.” Many fans see her friendship with Steve as a highlight of season 3. Acidsnak agrees that “Robin was crucial to his development this season plus she had great banter with him. Scoops ahoy gang was the MVP of season 3!”
Single mom of Jonathan and Will, Joyce famously created the alphabet lights in an attempt to communicate with Will in the Upside Down. Her relentless pursuit of saving her son, despite everyone assuming she was losing it, was integral in saving Will.
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Her pursuit of her son was a driving force in season 1, Redditor Bi_Fry states, “She was eager to get her son back through any means necessary (standing her ground even though she looked insane.)” Moments like when she got tickets to see Poltergeist with Will prove “she is a genuinely caring mother.” Fans like theyesn hype up her creative use of the lights, “that was some resourceful stuff, which was one of the most realistic aspects of the show.”
When the gang finds their new telekinetic friend in the woods, their lives change forever. El is introduced barely able to speak English, but soon becomes an important part of the entire series. Eleven’s powers develop to the point where she can open and close doors to alternate dimensions.
Eleven’s backstory is one of the saddest and Reddit user Intelligent_Seat3659 points out she’s had to grow up fast. “Eleven is a confusing mix of naivety and maturity-she is learning how to make a decision, showing mercy.” danaaaban_ says her unwavering friendship with the others is a key factor in her character development over the years, she was even “willing to sacrifice her life to protect Lucas, Dustin, and Mike.”
While Dustin’s one-liners offer comedic relief, fans consider him a sympathetic character. His scientific curiosity also helps the crew in times of need. In season 3 they close the gate to the Upside Down with the help of his homemade radio.
Like Robin, fans once again attribute part of Dustin’s likability to his friendship with Steve. According to user it5myztory, “their characters are so good and together they’re the best pair in the show.” Fans fondly remember Steve “The Hair” Harrington giving Dustin a can of Farrah Fawcett hairspray to level up his game. SolidPrysm says it is simply that he is “the most loveable member of the cast by a large margin.”
Mornings are for coffee and contemplation and Sheriff Hopper is the backbone of this series, according to many fans. The adoptive father of Eleven was last seen sacrificing himself in order to help close the gate to the Upside Down.
The sheriff “gave his life for all of them and the world no less. Hopper was a great dad, a great friend, and a good person,” according to CaptainGString. Fans defend this complex character, SimpleDiscourse23 citing how “we watch him risk his life for his friend’s child, traveling to a parallel universe just to save Will.” While he might seem brutish to some Hopper has proven to be selfless just like his adopted daughter Eleven.
Affectionately known as the Babysitter, Steve actually started off as a hated character in season 1. Over the next two seasons, he developed into one of Stranger Thing’s best characters. Many consider the Scoops Ahoy storyline to be the highlight of season 3.
The fans can’t get enough of Steve. User danaaaban_ admires how he “gives love advice to Dustin, defends Lucas from racist behavior, and risks confronting Billy to protect all the children.” They all love a good redemption story too, as HappySlothFan claims “Steve had not only the most incredible character and redemption arc of this entire series, but possibly of any series out there.” While these are all compelling reasons, HappySlothFan reminds everyone that Steve simply has “the sexiest hair of anyone in the series.”
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